Welcome to the web site dedicated to the First Yale Unit and the documentary film
The Millionaires’ Unit – U.S. Naval Aviators in the First World War

The Millionaires’ Unit is the story of a privileged group of college students from Yale who formed a private air militia in preparation for America’s entry into World War One.  Known as the First Yale Unit, and dubbed ‘the millionaires’ unit’ by the New York press, they became the founding squadron of the U.S. Naval Air Reserve and were the first to fly for the United States in the Great War. 

Using the words of these pioneer aviators from their letters and diaries, the documentary tells the story of young men coming of age as America was coming of age as a world power. Their service and sacrifice is the great untold story of American aviation in World War One.

The documentary was inspired by the book The Millionaires' Unit by Marc Wortman. After seven years of development and production, with filming on three continents, The Millionaires’ Unit is completed, and plans are underway for a multi-format release to help commemorate the centennial of World War One.

For more information on the documentary, for news and to help support the production, please select THE MILLIONAIRES’ UNIT: DOCUMENTARY FILM menu above. To explore the people, places and imagery of the Unit and their world, please select the FIRST YALE UNIT HISTORY menu above.  

Movie Trailer

This deluxe edition, 2 DVD set or Blu-ray™ (requires Blu-ray™ player)  contains the original 2-hour feature and an additional disc containing an hour of bonus material including four supplementary featurettes: “From Sea Legs to Navy Wings — The Birth of U.S. Naval Aviation,” “Killingholme: Hunting the German U-boat,” “Flying the Sopwith Camel” and “The Making of The Millionaires’ Unit.” Plus, the original trailer and an eight-page booklet containing an appreciation by Marc Wortman, author of the book that inspired the film, The Millionaires’ Unit (ISBN 1586484443).

Narrated by Oscar®-nominated actor Bruce Dern, grand-nephew of one of the pilots, this documentary epic was filmed in England, France and Belgium and along the Eastern Seaboard. 

Winner of multiple Best Documentary Feature film festival awards, The Millionaires' Unit features stunning re-enactments and dogfights filmed air-to-air with period aircraft. 
"An intimate, character-driven story set in the historical context of ...the birth of naval aviation,
and the drama and tragedy of the First World War...." 
— G.I. Film Festival

Humanus Documentary Films Foundation is a California 501(c)(3) non-profit. The mission of Humanus Documentary Films Foundation to enrich historical knowledge through the medium of documentary film.

 

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